Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam launches memoir of his political journey at Singapore Management University on 12 March 2024

Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, the seventh President of Singapore between 2011-2017, launched his book, Tony Tan Keng Yam: My Political Journey, at The Singapore Management University (SMU) on Tuesday, 12 March 2024. The book is co-authored with former journalist Leslie Koh and published by Straits Times Press.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the Guest of Honour at the event. He gave the opening address and officiated at the launch of Dr Tan’s book. Other guests who graced the event included Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Professor S. Jayakumar, Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers and SMU Pro-Chancellor Mr Eddie Teo, SMU Founding Chairman Mr Ho Kwon Ping, SMU Chairman Mr Piyush Gupta and SMU President Professor Lily Kong.

In his speech, PM Lee recalled the occasions when he worked closely with Dr Tan and lauded Dr Tan for his exemplary leadership and integrity.

He said, “there can be no doubt about Dr Tan’s immense contributions to Singapore. But what if he had not answered the call to serve? He writes that back in 1979, he had been determined to stay in the banking sector and turn down Mr Lee’s call to join politics. But one sentence from Mr Lee changed everything: “If good people don’t go into politics, bad people will”. We are fortunate that Dr Tan eventually chose to serve.” PM Lee hoped that Dr Tan’s book would inspire more people to follow in his footsteps, to come forward and lead Singapore into a better future.

In his speech, Dr Tan said, “I hope that some of the lessons we had learnt in the past might be of value to the next generation of citizens and leaders. In sharing about the problem-solving and policy-making approaches we had taken in my book, I hope that this would help the next generation to be better prepared to manage any crisis the future might throw at us.”

Written from Dr Tan's point of view, the book offers a personal perspective of policy- and decision-making on a national level, giving a behind-the-scenes look at key decisions and policy changes in the fields of education, finance, security and defence through his years in government and public service. It encapsulates Dr Tan’s personal insights on the lessons learnt in the journey of building and growing a nation, including deliberations behind the 1979 overhaul of the education system, the scrapping of the graduate mothers' priority scheme, the 1986 Central Provident Fund rate cut, and his entry into the 2011 presidential race.

The book is available for purchase at all major bookstores and on the stbooks.sg website from March 12.  It retails for $40.33 (paperback) and $78.48 (hardcover).

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